Cheeseburger Gothic

Berning down the House

Posted February 10, 2016 into Politics by John Birmingham

It's not exactly interesting that the two candidates who inspire the most fervant followings are at the extremes of the US primaries. Things are naturally a little gnarlier out there on the fringes. What's interesting about Trump and the Bern is not the energy, but the mass. Their followings are not fringe-sized. They're what groovy 60's political scientists used to call 'mass publics'.

I liked this, bemused, slightly patronising piece in The Atlantic about Sander's youthful jihadis. I don't think it actually meant to be patronising, but there is a real 'Kids these days' feel to it.

They line up for hours to see Sanders, snow accumulating on their puffy jackets and knit caps and uncombed hair. They fill college arenas, chanting, “Ber-nie! Ber-nie!” They gather in little knots as they wait for him to appear, engaging in impromptu rap sessions about pot legalization and campaign-finance reform. They are feeling the Bern.

If Sanders wins the New Hampshire primary on Tuesday, as he is favored to do, it will be because of the youth movement he has inspired. It will be a stunning result in a state that has historically been friendly to Bill and Hillary Clinton, a dramatic overthrow of the Democratic machine by a rebellious new generation of liberals. And if nobody saw this coming, that may be because nobody was listening to what the kids were trying to tell us.

49 Responses to ‘Berning down the House’

BigWillieStyle would have you know...

Posted February 10, 2016

Meh. Our own Kevin Rudd was tuned in to the kids years before Bernie. Back in 2007, you couldn't walk down the street without tripping over a collective of groovy youths flashing their "Kevin 07" merch.

And the tweets! Remember when KR used to totally rock the Twittersphere? "Hey there Hep Cats. Just chillaxing to Lady GooGoo while wording up my homeboys." Those were the days.

pi has opinions thus...

Posted February 10, 2016
Yes, and the establishment that brought him down from his own party led to the election of Tony Abbott.

Respond to this thread

DarrenBloomfield puts forth...

Posted February 10, 2016
I read it, and didn't pick up the patronising vibe you felt, to be honest.
It'll be interesting to see where these kids go when it's election time and it's Hillary versus someone (probably Rubio). I suspect they'll stay home, and start looking for the next Bernie. Probably a female one.

Respond to this comment

DarrenBloomfield asserts...

Posted February 10, 2016
I dunno Murph
I bummed around Europe the (northern) summer of '92. A lot of Seppos wandering around in "Run, Ross, Run" caps and tees.
This too shall pass.

Respond to this thread

Murphy_of_Missouri reckons...

Posted February 10, 2016
On a more serious note, my facebook feed is inundated on a regular basis by former students and lifeguard coworkers who are constantly pushing the need to, "Feel the Bern."

Dave W puts forth...

Posted February 10, 2016
On a brighter note, these people have self-identified for de-friending, making the whole process very easy for you.

Murphy_of_Missouri would have you know...

Posted February 11, 2016
I prefer not to do that, given that more than a few were my better students. Unlike some in academia and science fiction, I don't feel that it is my job to indoctrinate them when they are in my classroom. If I unfriend them for merely holding a different point of view, well, I don't think that reflects well on me, or what I tried to teach them.

FormerlyKnownAsSimon asserts...

Posted February 11, 2016
Social media is no place for reasoned thought. How dare you take such a position! : )

Dave W ducks in to say...

Posted February 11, 2016
Yeah, I was seeing this as the perfect opportunity to make a snap-judgement on whether some of these people are worthy of being your 'friend'. Reasoned thought be damned!
I do this all the time. Share a picture of a butterfly exhorting me to remember that angels are real. Defriended. It's not personal, it's just about whether what I have now learned about someone continues to qualify them for my friendship.

Respond to this thread

Blarkon mumbles...

Posted February 10, 2016
Went to one of his rallies when I was in Portlandia last year. Very little that he proposed was different to what Australians generally have already - it's just that the US is very different to Oz, so things like our health system and HECS are frightening and alien to an American audience.

Murphy_of_Missouri swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted February 11, 2016
Obviously never visited a Department of Veterans Affairs hospital or any given military medical facility. When you do, get back with me on some notes per compare and contrast with the Aussie system.

dweeze is gonna tell you...

Posted February 11, 2016
That's all well and good if you are a Vet. Methinks the scaly one referred to public health care which, while far from perfect in Oz, is infintely more accessable to all than in the US. Besides, I've heard a few tales from US Vets not too enamoured of DVA's / beauraucro-bloat.
HECS only frightened me when I finally earnt enough to have to pay it off and it was mere peanuts compared to the size of current courses / student debt in either country.

Murphy_of_Missouri swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted February 11, 2016
You honestly think that any government run health system in the United States will operate any differently than the ones it currently operates?


dweeze mutters...

Posted February 11, 2016
Ahah - I think we got got our wires crossed there. Yes, US DVA care would seem to be pretty crap.
I was more referring to punters being refused (or downgraded) public hospital admission / treatment without insurance. For all of the faults in Oz public health, anyone can present to a hospital and get treated. Of course, those with the $$$ (read: expensive private health insurance), can always get better treatment at a private hospital.
Either way, you guys are stuck between a rock and a hard place when it comes to your gummintal leadership options.

Murphy_of_Missouri swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted February 11, 2016
Truth.

Rhino ducks in to say...

Posted February 13, 2016
Hospitals/Emergency rooms will not turn someone away for lack of insurance. It is the law.
For this reason, many uninsured/undocumented use the hospital system for things for which the insured use GPs.

NBlob ducks in to say...

Posted February 13, 2016
Mr Rhino sir. I understand that there is Duty of Care which obliges hospitals to treat the needy. However, under your user pays system, one can find oneself with a debt bigger than Fuji San.

Respond to this thread

Lobes asserts...

Posted February 10, 2016
ive got $50 on Bernie to win the general election at 40/1, thats a payout of $2000, fuck yeh feel the bern babieeee

I luv capitalism

Respond to this comment

Babes mumbles...

Posted February 11, 2016
We have definitely been feeling the Bern in our house, and we are not even that young! The extremists are taking control because the establishment stinks on both sides. Voter turnout was record-breaking in both Iowa and New Hampshire because people who never felt motivated to vote are feeling like someone cares about them for a change. As terrifying as Trump's rise is, he is feeding into (or on) a lot of scared, put upon people who (rightly) feel like a Bush or a Cruz or a Rubio does not have their back (neither does Trump, but I digress). I found this analysis of the Sanders/Clinton contest pretty interesting: http://benjaminstudebaker.com/2016/02/05/why-bernie-vs-hillary-matters-more-than-people-think/

Paul_Nicholas_Boylan has opinions thus...

Posted February 11, 2016
The extremists are taking control because the establishment stinks on both sides.

You
are absolutely correct about the reasons for what we are seeing - i.e., mass anger at the political party elite. We are
watching one of the self-correcting mechanisms of American politics in
operation.

Power corrupts and tends to concentrate in fewer and
fewer people. The concentration of power causes empowered and
therefore privileged groups to increasingly benefit at the inevitable
detriment of the larger groups that do not have the power to influence the
political/economic system to their advantage.

This has happened
since the beginning. The result is always a peasant uprising that
doesn't do much of anything substantive, or actual revolution that upends
the system but does nothing more than place a new group in power, and
the whole cycle happens again.

Not here. Our founders very
wisely recognized the evils of concentrating power and the benefits of
disbursing power. Two, sometimes three, political parties are the
gateway to the manipulation of government for private gain. Power
concentrates, of course, and all political parties become the running
dogs of the 1%. And we accept that, so long as the political elite
provide enough benefits to the rank and file.

Eventually, the
concentration of power causes political parties to become less and less effective at being the means of providing benefits to party members.
And when a tipping point of popular frustration takes place, little
admirably non violent revolutions take place resulting in reform or
the end of one party, replaced by another. Our political system is
designed for little, non violent revolutions every now and then (from my
perspective, the American labor and civil rights movements were non
violent revolutions).

That's what we are watching take place right now.
From my viewpoint the really important, most fascinating question is
whether the Democratic and/or the Republican Parties will survive, or will they join the Federalist, the Democratic-Republicans, the Anti-Masonics, the Whigs and the Free Soil parties in the trash bin of history.

My
bet is the DNC will reform sufficiently to continue to exist, but the
rise of Donald Trump means the end of the RNC.

One last comment:
neither Trump nor Sanders are extremists. Sanders is a moderate
socialist. Trump is an outsider who is attempting a hostile takeover of
the GOP.

Babes mutters...

Posted February 11, 2016
I agree they aren't extremists, only in comparison to their parties, which again, stink. I totally agree with your assessment that the RNC needs to take a dirt nap and the DNC will likely squeak by. After all, Sanders is actually trying to reform the DNC whereas I think Trump is, as you suggest, trying to end the RNC.

Paul_Nicholas_Boylan ducks in to say...

Posted February 11, 2016
Trump isn't trying to end the RNC. He is trying to ride an insane clown car for as long as he can hold on. For him this is inexpensive fun with no downside no matter how it finishes. He would prefer the RNC remain intact for his use.

Trumps involvement spells the end of the RNC for other reasons. His continuing rise from not only outside of the GOP - but in opposition to it - means the RNC cannot control its base for the purposes of national elections. The vast majority of those who the RNC need to control in order to project political power are following an outsider and have, essentially, formed a new, separate political party. After this election, those RNC/GOP loyalists still standing will devolve into a "rump" political party.

The longer Trump lasts, the more the RNC fractures, spelling the end of the GOP.

Barnesm has opinions thus...

Posted February 11, 2016
a peasant uprising, like a jacquerie? does that mean French pastries are involved - I'm in.

Respond to this thread

Rob asserts...

Posted February 11, 2016

I think the one thing that Sanders does that's different from everyone else, is he actually has policies. And he has beliefs. So he's making promises that are costed ( or costly depending on which side of wall street you live on) His appeal is to the proletariat , Americans might have finally accepted that they aren't going to get to the top by blind adherence to the American dream and hard work. Americans work hard and some work hard for no reward at all. But his policies are mostly like Australian policies, a regulated industrial relations system, an Australian Medicare system, regulated banks.

Respond to this comment

w from brisbane mumbles...

Posted February 11, 2016
PNB, what about Michael Bloomberg? Is he serious? What would be the impact of his candidacy?

Paul_Nicholas_Boylan mumbles...

Posted February 11, 2016
Yes, he is serious (as serious as a billionaire can be about spending money to enter what amounts to a beauty contest).

Cannot yet assess the impact of Bloomberg actually doing it.

Babes mumbles...

Posted February 11, 2016
I really hope he doesn't run, but he probably will, given that he is a very, very rich person who has gotten an idea. Also, I think that Bernie will do better than expected in the states that will hold primaries before his self-imposed deadline to run.
It would certainly be even more interesting than it's been already--Sanders would get the chance to be David vs. Goliath(s), with real life examples to portray his message about what an oligarchy US politics have become and how he wants to return the power back to the 99%. (And Americans love a good underdog, not to mention Bible metaphors, so I really think he could pull it off).

Lulu would have you know...

Posted February 11, 2016
"(And Americans love a good underdog, not to mention Bible metaphors, so I really think he could pull it off)."

I disagree. Seems like a nice guy, good ideas etc, but I don't think he'd meet the electability test.

Babes would have you know...

Posted February 11, 2016
I guess we'll see...he continues to outperform Hillary in all the polls against Republicans and Hillary just got fewer votes in NH than when she won it in 2008. He just raised $6.4 mil in 24 hours in individual donations that averaged $34. I'd personally kind of like to see more proof that Hillary is electable.

Respond to this thread

Grand Admiral Thrawn is gonna tell you...

Posted February 11, 2016
i hope America can be spared for the scourge that is socialism. i live in Manitoba Canada, we have had a socialist party(the NDP) in charge my province for a long time. we now have a huge debt, crappy infrastructure, bloated bureaucracy, our public health has the longest wait times in the country and the taxes keep going up to pay for social programs that are inefficient and constantly cheated.,i really hope that it can be avoided in America, good luck you'll need it if sanders is elected.

Murphy_of_Missouri is gonna tell you...

Posted February 11, 2016
Again, check out any given Veteran's Hospital if you want to know what universal health care in this country will look like.

Barnesm would have you know...

Posted February 11, 2016
one data point doesn't make a proof.

Babes would have you know...

Posted February 11, 2016
Murph, my dad raised us saying the same thing about the "socialized" health care he received in the military. He also insisted that we already have universal healthcare because no one can be denied treatment at a hospital! If it's horrible no one will stand for it and we can always revert back, but sitting stubbornly on a shitty system will never make it better.

Murphy_of_Missouri would have you know...

Posted February 11, 2016
Barnes, honestly?

How many stories do you need? Why don't you just google Agent Orange. I'll wait. You'll have your avalanche of data points.

Babes would have you know...

Posted February 12, 2016
Oh, funny, I thought Barnes was referring to the comprehensive international list compiled by the World Health Organization that I posted as one data point.
I would actually be totally shocked if Sanders, even if he could get elected, were able to succeed in taking people's private healthcare away from them. Doesn't he know how well-armed the people here are? (And I mean, three years ago I had a 9 cm ovarian cyst removed for $30.00 so it works just fine for me!)
I think the best solution would actually be getting an expanded ACA in place that covers EVERYONE not covered by their employers, not employed, not covered through spouses or parents, etc. Which I think is exactly what Hillary wants, anyway. My problem with her is that she's compromising even before she sits at the table. The greater your starting demands, the more you're going to get.

Babes reckons...

Posted February 12, 2016
Oh, and states can opt out of ACA without offering any alternative, which is so wrong! My sister needs it and would qualify, but SD opted out so she's paying $300/month for private insurance on a waitress's salary.

Adam Denny is gonna tell you...

Posted March 23, 2016
In San Francisco, the ACA has left MediCal for me anyway, pretty much the rough equivalent of being back in Australia with a Medicare Card. I am fully aware how lucky I am, that there are vast chunks of the country where the Republicans have ignored the ACA, and I would still have no access to healthcare. Here I do though, and sorry Murph, I know the Vet system is terrible and you blokes who served deserve better. I'm just saying my experience of public healthcare here thanks to Obama is almost no different to back in Australia.

Respond to this thread

Mark R, Whittington reckons...

Posted February 11, 2016
I am old enough to have seen this movie before, with the role of Bernie Sanders being played by George McGovern. Sanders will suffer a similar fate.

Trump, on the other hand, frightens me.

Paul_Nicholas_Boylan is gonna tell you...

Posted February 11, 2016
That's because you are a loser. Just ask Trump.

Murphy_of_Missouri has opinions thus...

Posted February 11, 2016
Trump, the demagogue the Founders worried about.
Reminds me of Huey Long.

Babes reckons...

Posted February 12, 2016
I just endured a piece on Slate basically saying, "If you don't understand Clinton's appeal, then you don't understand the complacency that comes with middle age. Vote for Clinton." ! What successful or transformative political movement was ever dominated by people over 40? In NH, Clinton only won among people over 65 or making over $200k, and even then only by a little. Saying, "I've given up, and so should you" is never a good rallying cry. ;-P

Lulu asserts...

Posted February 12, 2016
oh god not again. And I didn't even copy/paste. Please delete that, thanks.

Paul_Nicholas_Boylan reckons...

Posted February 12, 2016
Done. If you first paste something you intend on using in a comment into a text only document, it will automatically strip the content of the coding stuff you don't want. Then you can copy it again and paste it without all that junk showing up.

GhostSwirv mumbles...

Posted February 12, 2016
Did you just teach us all something useful?

I fear that there is going to be an inevitable, unexpected and significantly soul-destroying cost.


Paul_Nicholas_Boylan puts forth...

Posted February 12, 2016
It is people like you that keep people like me from having any fun.

GhostSwirv is gonna tell you...

Posted February 12, 2016

Its people like me who follow people like you's advice and then end up not stripping the content of coding stuff that I don't want!

In the interest of fun ... please sir explain the process of adding a weblink to this blog ... its FebFast and I have a right kidney that's not been too overworked these past 13 days that I'm to trade to a good home.

Respond to this thread

Mark R, Whittington swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted February 11, 2016
I could only wish I could be publicly denounced by the Donald. It would put me in an eclectic group of people.

Respond to this comment

Respond to 'Berning down the House'

Follow along with RSS